Neurological disorders such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can lead to hand impairments in children, negatively impacting their daily quality of life.
As a result, fully wearable robotic hand orthoses (RHO) have been proposed to actively support children and promote the use of their impaired limbs in daily life.
Researchers conducted a case study on the feasibility of using the pediatric RHO PEXO for assistance in a home setting with a 13-year-old child with hand impairment after TBI. The size and functionalities of the RHO were first fully tailored to meet the child’s needs. Researchers also trained the child and parent on independently using the RHO before taking it home for a two-week period.
Researchers found that the use of the RHO did improve the child’s hand ability. The tailoring and training also benefited the unimanual capacity (Box and Block Test score +2 after tailoring) and bimanual performance (Assisting Hand Assessment score +4) of the child with PEXO.
Further, it increased device acceptance by the child and the parent. The child used PEXO at home for 76 minutes distributed over three days during eating and drinking tasks. Personal and environmental factors caused the moderate use.
No adverse events or safety-related issues occurred, according to the study, which highlighted the value of tailoring an assistive RHO and, for the first time, demonstrated the feasibility of home use of a pediatric RHO by children with neurological hand impairments.